The man signed a contract with an online merchant and paid $50,000 upfront for certain items. However, his request for a refund was later turned down.
A man's online transaction went awry after he parted with $50,000 for a purchase.
The victim found a website where he could purchase merchandise at a cheaper rate from a third party seller.
The seller was rated as a "gold class member" of the site, so the victim assumed that the merchant was reliable.
The man signed a contract with the merchant and paid $50,000 upfront for the items. He was then informed that he was required to pay the remaining outstanding amount before the items could be delivered.
When the man requested for his deposit to be refunded, the merchant refused to honour his request.
The man later discovered that the seller did not have the capacity to deliver such items. His deposit was also forfeited.
The police advise members of public to be aware of such scams and to adopt the following measures:
- Do business with those you know and trust. Be sure you know who the company or person is and where they are physically located. Businesses operating in cyberspace may be located in another part of the world. Resolving problems with someone unfamiliar may be more complicated in cross-border transactions.
- Understand the offer. Look carefully at the information about the goods and ask for more information when required. A legitimate business would gladly provide it. Ensure that you know what is being sold, the total price, the delivery date, the return, cancellation policy and the terms of any guarantee. Do not be lured by large discounts to purchase the goods.
- Never give your bank account numbers, credit card numbers and personal information to anyone you don't know or have not checked out. Do not provide information that is not necessary to make the purchase.
- Check out the track record of the company/seller. Ask the company/seller for their list of clients/customers. Make enquiries with the clients/customers on the background and services provided by the company/seller. Be wary that fraud artists can appear and disappear especially in cyberspace, so the lack of a complaint record is no guarantee of legitimacy.
- Auctions. The company/seller may never deliver the goods or misrepresent their value. "Shrills" may be used to drive up bids. The company/seller may try to raise prices after the highest bids were made.
- Know that the people in cyberspace may not be what they seem. Someone who is sharing a "friendly" tip about a moneymaking scheme or great bargain in a chat room or on a bulletin board may have an ulterior motive i.e. to make money. Sometimes friendly people are crooks.
Anyone who encounters similar incidents may call the Police hotline at 1800 255 0000 or '999' if urgent Police assistance is required.